Sleep Inn out, Candlewood Suites in

A long-planned hotel near the corner of Route 1 and East Milton Avenue looks like it will go through another round of changes.

The 4.4-acre site (667 E. Milton Ave./Block 338, Lot 3) already was approved for a Sleep Inn several years ago but the property changed hands earlier this year and now the plan is to bring in Candlewood Suites, an extended stay brand of Holiday Inn. The Redevelopment Agency was presented with the new concept earlier this month and owners are expected to file an application with the Planning Board as soon as possible.

The site was acquired several months ago for $2.35 million. Owners hope to break ground as soon as next spring, with construction anticipated for 10 to 12 months, taking it into the spring of 2010.

Plans still show an L-shaped building at the corner of Lennington Street with the same footprint, but the structure is four stories instead of three, with a maximum of 93 rooms. The mix of studios and one-bedrooms can be modified, such as combining two studios to create a one-bedroom.

An indoor pool and convenience store also were added to the original design, which had 72 rooms in three stories. Extended stay units also have kitchens and most clients stay an average of two to three weeks. A 8,000-square-foot restaurant is still planned but is not dependent on the hotel construction, and vice versa. The restaurant would abut the neighboring Best Western on Paterson Street with its parking lot at the corner of East Milton and Paterson Street.

The hotel site would have 90 parking spaces while the restaurant site would accommodate 42, for a total of 132. By city ordinance, an 8,000-square-foot restaurant requires one parking space for every three seats, which would meet the requirement for a 120-seat facility (40 seats).

The owners also operate the Horizon Inn on Route 1 in Avenel and told the Redevelopment Agency they already have approval for $7 million financing from Unity Bank. They would have a 10-year agreement with Candlewood which would be renewed based on performance.